Caroline Lucas

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Caroline Lucas
MP
Caroline Lucas Smile.jpg
Leader of the Green Party of
England and Wales
In office
5 September 2008 – 5 September 2012
Deputy Adrian Ramsay
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Natalie Bennett
Principal Speaker of the Green Party
In office
30 November 2007 – 5 September 2008
Preceded by Siân Berry
Succeeded by Office Abolished
In office
2003 – 24 November 2006
Preceded by Margaret Wright
Succeeded by Siân Berry
Member of Parliament
for Brighton Pavilion
Incumbent
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by David Lepper
Majority 1,252 (2.4%)
Member of the European Parliament
for South East England
In office
14 June 1999 – 6 May 2010
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Keith Taylor
Personal details
Born (1960-12-09) 9 December 1960 (age 53)
Malvern, Worcestershire, England
Political party Green Party of England and Wales (since 1990)
Green Party (1986–1990)
Spouse(s) Richard Savage
Alma mater University of Exeter
University of Kansas
Website Official website

Caroline Patricia Lucas (born 9 December 1960) is a British Green Party of England and Wales politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Brighton Pavilion since 2010, and is the UK's first ever Green MP.

She was previously a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for South East England from 1999 to 2010.[1][2] and Leader of the Green Party from 2008 to 2012, when she stood down to devote more time to her parliamentary duties. She is noted for campaigning and writing on green economics, localisation, alternatives to globalisation, trade justice, animal welfare and food. In her time as a politician and activist, she has worked with numerous NGOs and think-tanks, including the RSPCA, CND and Oxfam.

Early life and education[edit]

Lucas was born in Malvern in Worcestershire, to middle-class, Conservative parents.[3] Her father ran a small central heating company.[4]

Lucas was educated at Malvern Girls' College (which became Malvern St James in 2006), an independent school in Great Malvern. She then went to the University of Exeter, where she gained a first-class BA (Hons) in English Literature, which she completed in 1983.[3][5] While there, she went on many trips to Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp and Molesworth peace camp when involved with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). She took a scholarship at the University of Kansas between 1983 and 1984 before doing a Diploma of Journalism in 1987. She earned her PhD from the University of Exeter in 1989 with a thesis entitled Writing for Women: a study of woman as reader in Elizabethan romance.[6]

Lucas was an activist in CND and was involved in the Snowball Campaign against US military bases in the UK.

Career[edit]

After joining the Green Party in 1986 (later the Green Party of England and Wales), Lucas had periods as the party's National Press Officer (1987–89), Co-Chair (1989–90), General Election Speaker (1991–92) and Party Regional Council Member (1997–99). She held the post of Female Principal Speaker from 2003 to 2006 and from 2007 onwards.[6] Her first electoral success came when she won the Green Party's second council seat in the UK on Oxfordshire County Council, which she held between 1993 and 1997.[7]

Green Party MEP and Westminster candidate[edit]

Lucas was first elected as a Member of the European Parliament for the South East England Region at the 1999 elections, the first year the election was by proportional representation. In that year the Green Party gained 7.4% of the vote (110,571 votes). She was re-elected in 2004, gaining 173,351 votes (8% share), and again in the 2009 election when the party's vote under the list system rose to 271,506, or 11.6%.[8] In the European Parliament, she has been a member of the Committee for Trade, Industry, Energy and Research; the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Policy;[7] the Committee on International Trade; and the Temporary Committee on Climate Change.[6] In addition, she is or has been Vice-President of the Animal Welfare Intergroup, a member of Intergroups on Peace Issues and Consumer Affairs, a member of the Parliament's Delegation to ACP (African Caribbean, and Pacific) Countries,[7] and a member of the Delegation for Relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council.[6] As part of her committee work, she was the Parliament's Rapporteur (draftsperson) on a Commission Communication on the impact of air transport on the environment, and the Vice-President of the parliament's committee of inquiry into foot-and-mouth disease.[7]

Brighton Pavilion had the highest vote in the 2005 general election for a Green Party candidate when Keith Taylor, a former Green Party Principal Speaker, gained 22% of the vote. In 2007, Lucas declared her intention to stand for the Green Party's nomination for the prospective parliamentary candidate in the Brighton Pavilion constituency for the next general election. In a letter to party members, Lucas made it clear that she would only stand if she won the internal party selection election by more than 10%, to avoid internal division. She described the move as "the most difficult decision of my life", due to "personal and family commitments" but also her "loyalty and commitment to Keith Taylor, who is a person and a politician for whom I have great admiration and respect".[9] On 18 July 2007, it was announced that Lucas had been selected by the Brighton Green Party. Lucas won with 55% of the party ballot against Keith Taylor's 45%.[2] Lucas was elected as the Green Party's first-ever MP in the general election of 2010. However, she is not the first Green Candidate to be elected under a first-past-the-post electoral system, as this was Jeanette Fitzsimons of the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand in the Coromandel Electorate in 1999.

Caroline Lucas speaking about the Green New Deal in Oxford, in 2009

In July 2008, Lucas joined the Green New Deal Group, an alliance of experts in finance, energy and the environment. The group put forward plans to invest in green energy, provide greater regulation of the finance sector, and strengthen ties between environmentalists, industry, agriculture, and trade unions. The proposals were put forth in response to fears over the recession, climate change, and increasing energy prices, and stressed the need for integrative policies towards tackling all three.[10]

Green Party leader and MP[edit]

Lucas was elected as the Greens Party's first leader on 5 September 2008, gaining 92% of the vote (against one other candidate, Ashley Gunstock) on a turnout of 38%.

In July 2010, Lucas expressed her support for seven campaigners of the Smash EDO campaign who had caused approximately £180,000 damage to an EDO MGM arms factory and were acquitted of conspiring to cause criminal damage. The jury accepted their defence of lawful excuse – action undertaken to prevent a much worse crime – because the company manufactured and sold certain components used by the Israeli military, notably in its assault on Gaza. Lucas stated that: "I am absolutely delighted the jury has recognised that the actions of the decommissioners were a legitimate response to the atrocities being committed in Gaza. I do not advocate non-violent direct action lightly ... [but] their actions were driven by the responsibility to prevent further suffering in Gaza."[11]

On 14 May 2012, Lucas announced she would be standing down as leader as of September 2012 "in order to broaden opportunities for the range of talent in the party and to raise the profiles of others aspiring to election". She added "I'm proud that during the four years of my term, we've moved Green politics forward to a higher level, with the party by far the most influential it has ever been".[12]

Lucas is an early signatory of the International Simultaneous Policy (SIMPOL) which seeks to end the usual deadlock in tackling global issues. Lucas became a signatory in June 2004.[13]

She is a supporter of homeopathy and signed an early day motion in support of its continued funding on the National Health Service sponsored by Conservative MP David Tredinnick.[14]

Lucas opposes Page 3 girls featured in The Sun newspaper and in 2013 transgressed the Westminster dress code by wearing a T-shirt with the logo "No More Page Three" to protest against it during a Commons debate.[15]

On 19 August 2013, Lucas was arrested at a nonviolent protest against Cuadrilla Resources fracking operations in Sussex.[16] She was subsequently charged with obstructing a public highway but was found not guilty on 17 April 2014 at Brighton Magistrates' Court. After the court case, Lucas said "This judgement is right but this is not a victory or cause for celebration. We will continue to campaign to end fracking and only celebrate when our world is on the path to a clean energy future."[17]

Other roles and writings[edit]

As well as her party political activities, Lucas has worked with developmental NGO Oxfam as Press Officer (1989–91), Asia Desk Communications Officer (1991–94), Policy Adviser on Trade and the Environment (1994–97) and Team Leader for Trade and Investment (1998–99).

Currently, she is vice-president of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)[18] and the Stop the War Coalition[19] and has been on the National Council of CND since 2004.[20] She is also Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil and Gas[21]

She has been an Advisory Board Member to the International Forum on Globalisation, the Centre for a Social Europe[6] and the Protect the Local, Globally think-tank.[22] She has been a Trustee of the Radiation Research Trust and Patron of the Joliba Trust (Africa). She is Matron of the Women's Environmental Network. Between 1997 and 1998, she was called upon as a Policy Adviser on Trade and Investment for the UK government's Department for International Development.[6]

Lucas is a prolific writer of reports, articles and books on the subjects of trade justice, localisation, globalisation, animal welfare and food, in which she is critical of free trade, a Single European Currency, trade-led developmental policies, genetically-modified (GM) food and a lack of attention to environmental and social issues.[22] Her most substantial work is Green Alternatives to Globalisation: A Manifesto (co-authored with Mike Woodin), which advocates localisation of economies based on minimal trade and greater social and environmental concern, in opposition to neo-liberal, market-led forces of globalisation.[23]

In August 2010 Lucas endorsed an eBook collection of political poems entitled Emergency Verse - Poetry in Defence of the Welfare State edited by Alan Morrison.[24]

In early 2013, Lucas co-signed a letter which was published in the Guardian newspaper which officially marked her support for the People's Assembly movement.[25] she also gave a speech at the People's Assembly Conference, held at Westminster Central Hall on 22 June 2013.

Awards[edit]

Caroline Lucas speaking as the first Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales at its autumn conference in 2008.

In her time as a politician and activist, Lucas has won the 2006 Michael Kay Award "for her outstanding contribution to European animal welfare" from the RSPCA.[26] She was named in the Top 10 of the New Statesman Magazine Person of the Year Award 2006, which was voted for by New Statesman readers.

Lucas has won the award for Politician of the Year in The Observer Newspaper Ethical Awards three times. The award is voted for by Observer readers, who chose her to win in 2007, 2009 and 2010.[27][28][29] In 2008 she was listed by The Guardian as one of "50 people who could save the planet".[30]

In October 2008 Lucas was winner in the Trade category of The Parliament magazine MEP Awards 2008.[31] The awards are voted for by MEPs and NGOs. In April 2010 Lucas won Best UK Politician in The Independent Green Awards[32] and in November 2010 she was awarded "Newcomer of the Year" in The Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year awards.[33] In July 2011 she was awarded "Best all-rounder" in the Total Politics End of Year MP awards[34] and in September 2011 she was awarded "MP of the Year" in the Women in Public Life Awards 2011.[35] Also in 2011 she was given the Political Studies Association award for "Influencing the Political Agenda"[36] and voted "Progressive of the Year" in Left Foot Forward's readers' poll.[37]

Personal life[edit]

Lucas married Richard Savage in July 1991 in Oxford; the couple have two sons.

Portrait[edit]

The National Portrait Gallery collection includes a 2002 image of Lucas photographed at Aldermaston by Nicola Kurtz.[38]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Harris, John (8 February 2010). "Could Brighton Pavilion elect Britain's first Green MP?". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 28 April 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Greens Pick MEP Lucas to Run for MP, Brighton Argus, 18 July 2007
  3. ^ a b "Caroline Lucas: the Green in beige who could be Nick Clegg's nemesis". The Daily Telegraph (London). 3 September 2010. 
  4. ^ "Green Shift". Thirdwaymagazine.co.uk. 4 February 2005. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  5. ^ Assinder, Nick (1 April 2005). "Interview: Caroline Lucas". BBC News. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Dr. Caroline Lucas MEP, in the European Parliament.
  7. ^ a b c d "Dr Caroline Lucas MEP". Greenparty.org.uk. 2010-05-06. Retrieved 2013-08-19. 
  8. ^ "South East European Election Result". BBC News. 
  9. ^ "Greens battle to be the first MP", The Argus, Brighton, 14 June 2007
  10. ^ "UK needs a 'Green New Deal'". 20 July 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2009. 
  11. ^ van der Zee, Bibi; Evans, Rob (2 July 2010). "Brighton MP declares support for acquitted Gaza campaigners". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 3 July 2010. 
  12. ^ Quinn, Ben (13 May 2012). "Caroline Lucas to step down as leader of the Green party". London: The Guardian. 
  13. ^ MPs who have signed the Simpol Pledge: uk.simpol.org - MPs who have signed the Simpol Pledge
  14. ^ "BMA Annual Representative Meeting Motions On Homeopathy (EDM284)". July 2010. 
  15. ^ "Caroline Lucas in Page Three T-shirt protest during debate". BBC News. 12 June 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  16. ^ "Green MP Caroline Lucas arrested at climate protest". BBC News. 19 August 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  17. ^ "Green MP Caroline Lucas cleared over fracking protest". BBC News. 17 April 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  18. ^ "Patrons and vice-presidents". RSPCA. 
  19. ^ "Steering Committee & Officers". Stop the War Coalition. 
  20. ^ "Green MEP Re-elected To CND National Council". Green Party. 
  21. ^ "Membership". All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil and Gas. 
  22. ^ a b Dr Caroline Lucas MEP's Biography[dead link] on her own website
  23. ^ Michael Woodin and Caroline Lucas (2004). Green Alternatives to Globalisation. Pluto Press. p. 262. ISBN 0-7453-1932-7. 
  24. ^ http://www.therecusant.org.uk The Recusant eZine
  25. ^ People's Assembly opening letter http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/feb/05/people-assembly-against-austerity 5 February 2013, The Guardian Newspaper.
  26. ^ RSPCA Presents Lucas With ‘Michael Kay’ Award For Animal Welfare Work
  27. ^ Who cares wins..., The Guardian
  28. ^ The Observer Ethical Awards 2009, The Guardian
  29. ^ Observer Ethical Awards: Caroline Lucas, Ethical Politician Award, The Guardian
  30. ^ Vidal, John; Adam, David; Watts, Jonathan; Hickman, Leo; Sample, Ian (4 January 2008). "50 people who could save the planet". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 21 July 2011. 
  31. ^ MEP Awards 2008 Winners[dead link]
  32. ^ The Green Awards: Our experts celebrate those doing most to protect our fragile environment, The Independent
  33. ^ Parliamentarian of the Year award recipients 2010[dead link], The Spectator
  34. ^ "The End of Year MP awards". Total Politics. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  35. ^ "Women in Public Life Awards 2011". Dods Parliamentary Communications Limited. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  36. ^ "2011 Political Studies Association Awards Ceremony". Political Studies Association. Retrieved 29 December 2011. [dead link]
  37. ^ "Look Left – Look back at the year". Left Foot Forward. Retrieved 17 January 2012. 
  38. ^ "National Portrait Gallery - Portrait - NPG x126085; Caroline Lucas". Npg.org.uk. 2002-12-13. Retrieved 2013-08-19. 

Bibliography[edit]

Caroline Lucas keynote speech at the autumn conference of the Green Party of England and Wales with Councillor Rupert Read looking on, Hove, 2006-09-23
  • Liam Fox (Author), Caroline Lucas (Author), Raymond Lygo (Author), Hugh Beach (Author), Nick Grief (Author), Steven Haines (Author), Clare Short (Author), Tim Hare (Author), Ken Booth (Editor), Frank Barnaby (Editor), The Future of Britain's Nuclear Weapons, 2006 ISBN 978-0-9511361-9-5
  • Lucas, C. P., Woodin, M., Green Alternatives to Globalisation: A Manifesto, 2004 ISBN 978-0-7453-1933-9
  • Lucas, C. P., Global Warming, Local Warning: A study of the likely impacts of climate change upon South East England, 2004
  • Lucas, C. P., Towards a GM free Europe: Halting the spread of GMOs in Europe, 2003
  • Jones, A., Lucas, C. P., Local Food: Benefits and Opportunities, 2003
  • Lucas, C. P., Time to Replace Globalisation, 2001
  • Lucas, C. P., Which way for the European Union: Radical Reform or Business as Usual?, 2001
  • Hines, C., Lucas, C. P., Stopping the Great Food Swap: Relocalising Europe's Food Supply, 2001
  • Lucas, C. P., From Seattle to Nice: Challenging the Free Trade Agenda at the Heart of Enlargement, 2000
  • Lucas, C. P., Woodin, M., The Euro or a Sustainable Future for Britain? A Green Critique of the Single Currency, 2000
  • Lucas, C. P., Watchful in Seattle: World Trade Organisation threats to Public Services, Food and the Environment, 1999
  • Lucas, C. P., Reforming World Trade: The Social and Environmental Priorities, 1996
  • Coote, B., Lucas, C. P., The Trade Trap, 1994
  • Lucas, Caroline (1989). Writing for Women: The Example of Woman as Reader in Elizabethan Romance. Open University Press. p. 176. ISBN 0-335-09017-6. 

External links[edit]

Party political offices
New creation Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales
2008–2012
Succeeded by
Natalie Bennett
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
David Lepper
Member of Parliament for Brighton Pavilion
2010–present
Incumbent